Architecture, diversity and Brexit

As an Italian architect based in London, I am perpetually excited about being part of such an internationally diverse community.

Italy has a rich architectural history. It is the country with the highest density of architects in Europe and therefore, I assume, the world (not being biased, obviously!).

But when it comes to having a multicultural society, we are simply not good enough. Our closed culture coupled with the fear of the unknown have arrested any progress within the architectural community – and sadly, ruled out any possibility of refreshing an obsolete system.

That’s why a few years ago, I decided to leave my beloved Italy to move to the UK.

Since arriving in London, I’ve learnt just how important diversity in architecture really is. As a citizen (or just a temporary resident) you immediately find yourself in this great big melting pot which is London society.

How will this change once the UK leaves Europe? I’m certainly not here to express my political point of view. But for the architectural community across the UK – and especially London – multiculturalism is such a rich resource. And yet, the very fabric of what makes the industry the envy of countries on all four corners of the globe is under threat from a growing anti-immigration sentiment.

London is not the architectural capital because it has the best businesses, the best manufacturers or even the best technology. London is the architectural capital because it has a globally diverse talent pool.

I chose to move to the UK as it is seen as an open and progressive country that welcomes talent from abroad. Individuals immediately find themselves immersed in a rich multicultural environment – something completely alien across the whole of Europe and possibly the world too.

Diversity in architecture goes beyond the workplace. Diversity makes for better designs, happier communities and brilliant, new ideas. Diversity is important because it allows architects to get closer to the communities they are designing for. And diversity allows professionals to get to know and connect with minority groups which is vitally important for the individual and the profession.

Here at Box Architects, we embrace diversity. We have architects from Europe, South America and the Middle East. Cultural diversity truly enriches every aspect of the practice.

There are infinite advantages to working alongside architects from different backgrounds and different cultures with different ways of thinking and different approaches to the profession. The architectural community needs to unite to preserve the very foundation of what makes our industry the envy of the world.